I’m all for the freedom of expression and people going on Twitter and other forms of social media to share their opinions, but if your opinion looks anything like this…
…then might I suggest that you first learn how to share your opinion more respectfully before expressing it.
What that picture above represents is a bunch of tweets directed at Joss Whedon, writer and director of newly released film The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, that have seemingly caused him to step away from Twitter altogether. Joss’ tweet in the middle of the above picture was his last before dropping his account. And unfortunately, Joss is only the latest example of someone yelled away from social media by an angry Internet mob.
(The ironic thing about this is that Joss is a self-described feminist and the mob that drove him from Twitter was made up of feminists angered by how Joss had written Black Widow in Age Of Ultron.)
It’s very simple: If you have a criticism to share, the best thing for you to do, not only to get your criticism heard, but also to have it taken seriously, is to not insult and not make threats. When you throw out insults and threats, you are only causing the other person to close off to what you’re saying to them. However, if you present your argument as intelligently and professionally as you can, then there is a much greater chance that your voice will be heard.
If you need an example of what such a conversation looks like, then read this exchange of emails by the late film critic Roger Ebert and actor Danny Woodburn concerning the use of an offensive word: http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/dwarfs-little-people-and-the-m-word
Despite what you may think, yelling at someone, insulting the person, and threatening the person will not make that person hear you. Being calm, rational, and presenting your case in a respectful way will, in effect, color you as someone who is worthy of hearing out and may bring you the answer you wish to hear. And even if you don’t get the answer you desire, at least you’ve shown that you’re a person of good character. Isn’t ‘respectful and respectfully denied’ a better position to be in than ‘fuming mad while not getting your way?’ At the very least, you’ll be a lot less stressed out.
You know, I really feel like if Jesus were on this planet today, and had a Twitter account, he would probably consistently post messages like, ‘Just be nice to each other. WTF! How hard is that?’
Seriously, why is it so hard to be kind when sharing an opinion? Remember, behind our screens and keyboards, we’re all human and can be hurt by the words thrown at us. Keep that in mind next time you talk to someone over the Internet.